Drives me round, baby right round.
Need For Speed: Most Wanted U is the Wii U version of the game Need For Speed: Most Wanted, and it is the definitive edition. It is smoother than the XBOX and PS3 versions to play through, has PC-level textures and lighting and contains the majority of the DLC (if not all of it) from the get go all while adding Wii U specific features – this version is the real deal.
The aim of the game is to race and knock out the top ten most wanted cars and drivers on the streets so you can become the number one street racer – not exciting I know, but you are given a whole city to drive around in a staggering number of different cars.
To race each of the most wanted cars you need to get a certain amount of most wanted points, you get this from achieving things like outrunning the police, driving through speed cameras, smashing through billboards, winning races, performing tricks and narrowly avoiding traffic. This is a fun enough system that is helped by a simple system of the game keeping track of all that you have done and then – this is the masterstroke – sharing your records with your friends in-game. The social side of this game is quite ingenious to me, I know it is not unique, but I enjoy it every time. It’s just great to know that you’ve gone through a certain speed camera faster than one of the people on your friends list.
The most wanted cars are essentially the game’s boss battles and they certainly feel like it – each one took me a few attempts to beat (I purposely did not choose the fastest cars as it would have been too easy). To make the most wanted races easier you can upgrade every car by winning regular races (or coming second) and this is where the first notable change of the Wii U version comes to light: there are fewer races for each car.
There are fewer races for each car because they all come with nitrous pre-installed something that you had to unlock for each car in the original versions of the game. I think this is an improvement, it makes the game flow faster and smoother – plus it’s great fun to use the nitrous, so to unlock it for every car would just be annoying.
The pre-installed nitrous however is something of a duel-edged sword, while it is fun and makes the game feel smoother, it does make the game easier, and therefore, shorter. It took me around 16 hours to beat all of the most wanted cars (granted, I still have around 45% of all the game to complete), but this time can and will be different for all, it depends on how many individual races you complete – how much of a completionist you are. For those that have to do everything, this game will last quite a while, but you may get a little bored in performing similar tasks over and over again.
Getting bored probably will take a long time though, as Need For Speed does just enough to keep things interesting, and truth be told, you will never get bored just looking at the thing – it really is a beautiful game to just watch, one that never dips in frame-rate either.
The graphics are highly detailed, and only made better by the race introduction videos, which employ various visual flairs to keep things looking fresh – these videos are the icing on the great looking cake. The graphics come with one question though, why is the ground always wet? I know it’s to make the lighting stand out more, but it does not make sense as it never rains in the game. It’s not so much a problem more as a design choice that is just there to show off, and show-offs can be annoying.
As this is Need For Speed, the soundtrack is expectedly Radio 1 – mainstream for those who live outside the UK. Music doesn’t usually bother me, but I have to say that it did verge on obnoxious a fair number of times, just as in EA’s other major seller FIFA.
I’ve got his far without telling you about what the Gamepad does in this game, it’s quite clever. You can change whether it is night or day, turn traffic on or off, look at the map, stop oncoming police for a second or use it for a co-driver. One player can use the gamepad and change things up for the person playing with the Pro Controller (or another controller), it’s a neat feature for those who have young children who want to play the game with you, as they can help or hinder your progress. Like many other Wii U games you can also play the whole thing on the Gamepad alone if you are that way inclined.
Need For Speed: Most Wanted U is the definitive version of the game, with great graphics, fun gameplay, great social features and cool unique trickery being more than enough to offset the annoying music and slightly repetitive nature of the fairly easy game.
Need For Speed: Most Wanted U is a great game hampered only by its soundtrack and its slightly repetitive nature.
P.S: There is some kind of multiplayer mode I did not try.